Secondary Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should ensure that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach appropriate grade-level content and for the ways that college- and career-readiness standards affect instruction of all subject areas. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Content Test Requirements:
Arkansas offers initial middle-grade certification (grades 4-8) in the four content areas: math, science, English and social studies. For initial licensure, candidates must choose any two of the four content areas. The state also requires three credit hours in Arkansas history. All new middle school teachers in Arkansas are required to pass a single-subject Praxis II content test to attain licensure; a general content-knowledge test is not an option.
Academic Requirements: Applicants seeking licensure in middle childhood must pass at least two of the state-required content assessments and earn concentrations in at least two content areas as well.
Praxis Tests www.ets.org/praxis Policies Governing Educator Program Approval Section 7.03 http://www.arkansased.gov/public/userfiles/rules/Current/2016/Educator_Preparation_Program_Approval_eff_05082016.pdf Adding an Area of Licensure to an Existing Arkansas License http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/human-resources-educator-effectiveness-and-licensure/educator-licensure-unit/add-licensure-area-to-license
Due to the Arkansas's policies in this area, no recommendations are provided.
Arkansas was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.
3A: Middle School Content Knowledge
Middle school grades are critical years of schooling. It is in these years that far too many students fall through the cracks. However, requirements for the preparation and licensure of middle school teachers can be especially problematic. States need to distinguish the knowledge and skills needed by middle school teachers from those needed by an elementary teacher. Whether teaching a single subject in a departmentalized setting or teaching multiple subjects in a self-contained setting, middle school teachers must be able to teach significantly more advanced content than elementary teachers. In order to do so, middle school teachers must be deeply knowledgeable about every subject they will be licensed to teach, and able to pass a licensing test in every core subject to demonstrate this knowledge. The notion that someone should be identically prepared to teach first grade or eighth grade mathematics seems ridiculous, but states that license teachers on a K-8 generalist certificate essentially endorse this idea.